Executive Staff

Leading toward the future

View our full departmental contact list.

Email our executive team at ocfexec@ocfair.com.

Michele Richards

General Manager and CEO

Michele Richards was named OC Fair & Event Center’s General Manager and CEO on Dec. 12, 2019. Prior to that she was the agency’s Vice President of Business Development for more than seven years, leading the marketing, communications, sponsorship, creative services, year-round events and exhibits and education departments. She was also an organizational development consultant to OCFEC for 11 years before joining the staff.

Michele has more than 30 years of leadership experience in a variety of fields including advertising/marketing, organizational development, sales and human resources, including over 15 years managing her own consulting practice. 




Joan Hamill

Chief Business Development Officer

  • Creative Services
  • Exhibits & Education
  • Entertainment
  • Event Sales & Services
  • Marketing
  • Guest Experience
  • Sponsorships
  • Communications

Joan Hamill was appointed Chief Business Development Officer May 1, 2020 to lead Communications & Guest Experience, Exhibits & Education, Entertainment, Event Sales & Services, Marketing & Creative Services and Sponsorship & Sales. She worked in various positions for OC Fair & Event Center in the exhibits department and served as the department director since 2003. During this time she developed and directed numerous programming and exhibits for OC Fair and Imaginology as well as year round educational programs and events for Centennial Farm. She lead the development and creation of permanent and rotating exhibitions and educational programs for Heroes Hall since its opening in 2017.



Ken Karns, CFE

Chief Operating Officer

  • Master Site Planning & Capital Projects
  • Admissions
  • Security & Traffic
  • Event Operations
  • Facility Operations
  • Technology & Production

Ken was introduced to the fair/multi-purpose event center industry at the Western Fair Association some 32 years ago. He has held a number of different positions from Projects and Facilities Manager, Events and Facilities Manager, Property Services Manager, Director of Operations, Director of Facility Development and Vice President – Operations.

Ken’s post-secondary Business/Facility Management and Technical education was completed in London Ontario at Fanshawe College.

Always maintaining his passion for the development of the industry, Ken accepted a position as Chief Operating Office at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, California, in January of 2016.

Ken overseas Fair, Master Site Planning and Capital Projects, Admissions, Security & Traffic, Event Operations, Facility Operations, and Technology & Production.

He has served on several Boards and committees with IAFE, CAFÉ, TSSA, ASHRAE, IAPA and WSPS.  Ken is also on the Board of Directors for the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce.